Guernsey forges ahead with aircraft registry plan

London
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Guernsey is forging ahead with plans to launch a business aircraft register as it looks to emulate the success of a similar scheme set up by the Isle of Man.

The island, situated in the English Channel, will partner with Dutch company SGI Aviation, which will be responsible for the operational aspects of the registry, including safety inspections, under a public-private partnership.

The registry is expected to be up and running within 12 to 15 months, says Fergus Woods, Guernsey's director of civil aviation.

Although the register will initially target aircraft already based on Guernsey, Woods is setting his sights on "high net-worth individuals" who have aircraft registered elsewhere. "If we can manage to register 50 external business jets per year for the first three years, we'll be doing quite well," he says.

The registry will be "cost-neutral" and "competitively priced" against its peers, says Woods. The benefit for Guernsey will come through the provision of additional services to aircraft operators, such as insurance or finance.

It will use "2" as a prefix, followed by four letters. "GY" was considered, says Woods, "but it doesn't differentiate us far enough from the UK". Guernsey's system will be a sub-register of the UK.

Guernsey had been in discussions with neighbouring Jersey to create a Channel Islands registry, but faced with little progress on the joint project, Guernsey has decided to go it alone.

Woods, who is also director of civil aviation on Jersey, says: "The window of opportunity is still open for joint arrangements, but further downstream it becomes much more difficult to accommodate those.

"The door is still open, but we need to be getting on with it."